How restaurants can take control amid renewed uncertainty

outdoor dining

In many areas of Wisconsin and the entire country, COVID-19 has raged back with a vengeance, prompting updated safety protocols and, in some cases, a shift in consumer behavior.

Use the lessons learned from 2020 to ensure your restaurant’s survival:

  1. Stay current with local health orders. If you have to adjust practices based on that or just want to take the precautions that make sense for your staff and customers, be ready to do so and communicate them clearly.
    You can also refer to the National Restaurant Association’s guidance and the Wisconsin Department of Health Services page for businesses.
  2. Consider or at least prepare for pivoting to a carryout and delivery model, either again or for the first time.
  3. Tune into other operational improvements you may have to tweak on an ongoing basis, too, like changing your hours based on demand/staffing. 
  4. Calculate whether you need to adjust menu prices:
    • To compensate for a labor shortage if you need to pay your employees more.
    • To stop absorbing increasing costs and more effectively cover your Cost of Goods Sold.
  5. Make sure your financial records are in order, as you never know what sort of relief program might be added or replenished. At this point, the Paycheck Protection Program and the Restaurant Revitalization Fund are no longer taking applications, though you can apply for PPP forgiveness and monitor the congressional effort for RRF replenishment.

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